Jonathan Baldo

Professor of English




Photo Credit: Gerry Szymanski

A faculty member of the Eastman School since 1983 and chair of the department from 1997-2005, Jonathan Baldo holds a B.A. in English from Yale University and a Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

His articles on Shakespeare and early modern culture have appeared in Shakespeare Quarterly, English Literary Renaissance, Renaissance Drama, Modern Language Quarterly, Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation, and Criticism as well as in collections such as Forgetting Faith?: Negotiating Confessional Conflict in Early Modern Europe (2011), Macbeth:  New Critical Essays (2008), and Resurrecting Elizabeth I in Seventeenth-Century England (2007).  He has also published on authors and topics as diverse as Franz Kafka, Gabriel García Márquez, Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poetics, and Ingmar Bergman.  Aided by a Senior Research Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), he recently completed Memory in Shakespeare’s Histories:  Stages of Forgetting in Early Modern England (2012), published by Routledge in its Studies in Shakespeare Series.  It reflects his ongoing interest in the ways that works of art negotiate conflicting cultural memories and in the partnership of remembering and forgetting in our constructions of the past.

Within the past two years, he has been invited to give papers at conferences in Munich, Prague, Paris, and Stratford-upon-Avon.  He enjoys teaching a wide range of topics, from Shakespeare to Faulkner, Joyce, Kafka, modern and contemporary poetry, and film.  In 2011, he was awarded the University of Rochester’s Edward Peck Curtis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching:  an honor that he is glad to share with the intellectually dynamic and curious students of the Eastman School of Music.

Works / Publications


  • Memory in Shakespeare’s Histories:  Stages of Forgetting in Early Modern England (Routledge, 2012).
  • The Unmasking of Drama:  Contested Representation in Shakespearean Tragedy (Wayne State University Press, 1996).


  • “Shakespeare’s Historical Sublime,” in Forgetting Faith?: Negotiating Confessional Conflict in Early Modern Europe, ed. Isabel Karremann(Berlin/New York:  De Gruyter, 2011).
  • “The Greening of Will Shakespeare,” in Borrowers and Lenders:  The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation 3:2 (Spring/summer, 2008).
  • “‘Into a thousand parts’:  Representing the Nation in Henry V,English Literary Renaissance 38 (Winter, 2008), 55-82.
  • “’A rooted sorrow’:  Scotland’s Unusable Past,” in Macbeth:  New Critical Essays, ed. Nick Moschovakis (New York and London:  Routledge, 2008), 88-103.
  • “Forgetting Elizabeth in Henry VIII,” in Resurrecting Elizabeth I in Seventeenth-Century England, edited by Elizabeth H. Hageman and Katherine Conway, (Madison, NJ:  Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2007), 132-148.
  • “Necromancing the Past in Henry VIII,” English Literary Renaissance 34, no. 3 (Autumn 2004), 359-86.
  • “The Politics of Aloofness In Macbeth,” English Literary Renaissance 26 (1996), 531-60.
  • “Wars of Memory in Henry V,” Shakespeare Quarterly 47 (1996), 132-59.
  • “Exporting Oblivion in The TempestModern Language Quarterly 56 (1995), 111-44.
  • “Ophelia’s Rhetoric, or Partial to Synecdoche,” Criticism 37 (1995), 1-35.
  • “The Shadow of Levelling in Timon of Athens,” Criticism 35 (1993),  559-588.
  • “The Reader on Trial:  Or, is Reading Necessarily an Injudicious Act?” In Critical Essays on Franz Kafka, ed. Ruth V. Gross (Boston:  G.K. Hall, 1990), pp. 235-259.
  • “Narratives as Theatres and as machines:  Two forms of Repetition in Benjamin and Kafka,” Journal of the Kafka Society of America 12 (1988), 11-28.
  • “Solitude as an Effect of Language in García Márquez’sCien años de soledad,” Criticism 30 (1988), 467-496; reprinted in Harold Bloom, ed., Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, Bloom’s Modern Critical Interpretations Series (Philadelphia: Chelsea House 2003), 85-114.
  • “Narrative Foiled in Bergman’s The Seventh Seal,” Theatre Journal 39 (1987), 364-382.
  • “A Semiotic Approach to Prospection in Shelley,” Semiotica 64 (1987), 279-297.
  • “’His Form and Cause Conjoin’d’:  Reflections on ‘Cause” in Hamlet,” Renaissance Drama, n.s., 16 (1985), 75-94.
  • “Theatricality, Generality, Drama:  Variations on the Theme of Context in Hamlet,” Criticism 27 (1985), 111-131.
  • “’He that plays the king’:  The Problem of Pretending in Hamlet,” Criticism 25 (1983), 13-26.


ENG 205 ELIZABETHAN SHAKESPEARE Fall, Spring (I, II-3) The Elizabethan Shakespeare:

An intensive study of plays and poetry from the first half of Shakespeare’s career. Besides getting to know Shakespeare’s characters intimately, we will study the place of his plays within one of the most vibrant cultures in all of history, Elizabethan England. When a good film version is available (or two or more contrasting versions), we will watch excerpts from the plays on film. Throughout the semester, we will approach the plays as entertainments to be performed as well as texts to be read. Our goal will be this: by the end of the semester, you will enjoy an easy familiarity with Shakespeare, so that you may revisit him often during your lives as a favorite author rather than an intimidating genius, and return to his plays as engaging and imaginative entertainments rather than calcified masterpieces.

ENG 206 JACOBEAN SHAKESPEARE Fall, Spring (I, II-3) The Jacobean Shakespeare: A continuation of English 205: an intensive study of plays from the second half of Shakespeare’s career, concentrating on the tragedies and romances.

ENG 208


Fall, Spring (I, II-3)

Shakespeare’s History Plays: England’s threat of invasion by the Spanish Armada in 1587, followed by the Armada’s defeat in 1588 in a tempest that the English interpreted as miraculous and providential, produced a period of intense national crisis followed by one of great national pride and rejoicing. In the decade that followed the Armada’s destruction, plays about English history became very popular on London’s public stages. In his own lifetime, Shakespeare’s history plays were the most popular of all his plays. Shakespeare’s history plays do not merely celebrate English nationhood in the wake of England’s great victory at sea; they also examine the meaning of recent English history for their time-and for subsequent times as well. In this course we will study five plays by William Shakespeare and one by his contemporary, rival playwright Christopher Marlowe.

ENG 242 LYRIC POETRY Fall, Spring (I, II-3) Lyric Poetry: A study of the major forms of lyric poetry, exploring poems from several historical periods (Renaissance, neo- classical, romantic, modern, and postmodern) and paying particular attention to modern and contemporary reinterpretations of traditional forms like the haiku, renga, ode, elegy, sonnet, ballad, sestina, pantoum, and villanelle. From time to time, we will remind ourselves of lyric poetry’s historical associations with music, and I will encourage students to explore musical settings of the poetry we read.

ENG 244


Fall, Spring (I, II-3)

nineteenth-century poets Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, the founding parents of modern American poetry. Most of the semester will be devoted to the twentieth century, when an astounding variety and number of original poetic voices proliferated in America. We will study selected works of a wide range of poets, including Robert Frost, Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Edna St. Vincent Millay, E.E.Cummings, Langston Hughes, and William Carlos Williams, among many others.

ENG 248



Fall, Spring (I, II-3)

Contemporary American Poetry: In this course we will explore and map the rich and varied landscape of contemporary American poetry from the Second World War to the present. I have designed it to be a continuation of the course on “Modern American Poetry” offered last semester, though that course is not a prerequisite for the current one. This semester we will study intensively selected works of a wide range of poets, including A. R. Ammons, John Ashbery, Elizabeth Bishop, Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Creeley, Rita Dove, Robert Lowell, James Merrill, W. S. Merwin, Frank O’Hara, Robert Pinsky, Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, and Anne Sexton, among others. Our method will be the close study of selected poets and their work, not a broad survey of the field. Without losing sight-or sound-of our poets’ distinctive voices, we will identify major trends in American poetry over the past four decades.

ENG 263 THE SHORT STORY Fall, Spring (I, II-3) The Short Story: According to an old rabbinical saying, “God made people because he loves stories.” The richness and diversity of the world’s storytelling traditions reflects the variety of people—and peoples—in the world. “We are the stories we tell,” according to the title of a recent collection of stories by and about women. This course offers a small but rich sampling of those stories: the literary short story as it developed over the past two centuries, with an emphasis on modern and contemporary innovators. Along the way, we will discuss how the short story differs from other literary forms and what it can accomplish that its larger, overweight cousin, the novel, cannot.

ENG 266


Fall, Spring (I, II-3)

Contemporary Fiction: Introduction to late twentieth- and twenty-first century literature, concentrating on British, European, American, women’s literature, black writers, science fiction, or Third World literature.

ENG 274 TOPICS IN THE NOVEL Fall, Spring (I, II-3) Topics in the Novel: Topics will vary. May be repeated for credit.

ENG 275


Fall, Spring (I, II-3)

Faulkner and His Heirs: One might have expected modernism in American literature to originate in the great cities of the north. Instead it was to be a Southerner from a small town who did more than any other author to bring the modernist spirit of innovation and experimentation to American fiction. We will immerse ourselves in the work of the most original and powerful American fiction writer of the twentieth century, exploring the construction of racial and gender differences in America; issues of regional and national identity; competing constructions of American’s past, particularly the Civil War and its aftermath; and the use and abuse of individual and collective memory. We will read several novels and short stories by our author. We will also briefly explore his career as a scriptwriter in Hollywood.

ENG 276 KAFKA Fall, Spring (I, II-3) Kafka: Born in Prague of German-Jewish descent, Franz Kafka was one of the most daring and experimental storytellers of the modern period. A Jewish mystic to some commentators and the first existentialist writer to others, Kafka had the dubious distinction of having his writings suppressed under both Nazi and Communist regimes.  Although all of his novels remained unfinished and unpublished at the time of his death, he would become one of the most influential figures in all of twentieth-century literature.  In this course we will delve into Kafka’s novels and short fiction, letters, and diaries as well as consider works by writers who were influenced by him.  All readings and discussions will be in English, although students who wish to read some or all of the works in German will be encouraged to do so. Cross-listed as GER 276.

ENG 279


Fall, Spring (I, II-3)

James Joyce: An intensive study of two of Joyce’s major works of narrative fiction – A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man and Ulysses – as well as some of his poetry, critical writings, and letters. We

also seek to situate the works in various historical contexts that shed light on Joyce’s fiction, including the rise of modernism, Irish nationalism, Anglo-Irish relations, Joyce’s musical background and its relation to his fiction, and Joyce’s life.


Fall (I-3)

Topics in Literature: Topics vary from year to year. Recent topics focus on authors, periods, genre or themes such as drama, Romantic literature, or musicians in literature. May be repeated for credit.

ENG 282


Spring (II-3)

Topics in Literature: Topics vary from year to year. Recent topics focus on authors, periods, genre or themes such as drama, Romantic literature, or musicians in literature. May be repeated for credit.


FS 210


Fall, Spring (I, II-3)

European Art Cinema: An examination of the wide array of styles and movements in Western European cinema that had a profound influence on American filmmakers after the Second World War. We will study individual films and directors-for example, Ingmar Bergman, Vittorio de Sica, Federico Fellini, and Luis Buñuel—in the contexts of broader artistic movements and the historical events that influenced them. No previous study of film is required.

FS 250


Fall, Spring (I, II-3)

Studies in Film Genres: An exploration of one or more major film genres. Topics will vary, and may include the study of the Hollywood studio system, the “classical”• Hollywood style, and recent developments in genre theory. May be repeated if on a different topic.

FS 251



Fall, Spring (I, II-3)

Hollywood Film: Cinema & Society: This course on Hollywood film from the silent era to the present will emphasize formal analysis and the cultural history of American film and the film industry. Students will learn basic terms of film criticism as well as how to write essays about films. We will also explore questions of how social, economic, and political factors have driven the development of film as a popular art form. We will also focus on major genres (including screwball comedy, film noir, and the western) and directors, including Chaplin, von Sternberg, Welles, Hitchcock, Wilder, Polanski, Altman, and Lee.

FS 260


Fall, Spring (I, II-3)

Cinema Auteurs: Directors who manage to put their unique stamp on films are often called “auteurs.” The study of a major director (or directors) in film history, and how they were able to find an individual voice in a medium that is generally collaborative. Topics might include an investigation of “auteur theory”. May be repeated if on a different topic

FS 262 FILMS OF ALFRED HITCHCOCK Fall, Spring (I, II-3) Films of Alfred Hitchcock:  In this course we will view and study fourteen of Hitchcock’s films in the context of the life and times of their director. In the first part of the course, we will consider his early work in Germany and England before moving on to his long career in Hollywood and his attempts to interpret his newly adopted country cinematically. The changing cultural contexts of his films—for example, American isolationism, the Second World War, postwar America, the Cold War, changing images of American domesticity, and the culture of psychoanalysis—will form more than a painted Hollywood set or colorful backdrop for our investigations: they will provide many of the clues for interpreting and understanding the deeper mysteries of Hitchcock’s films. This course does not presuppose any previous study of film analysis or film history.


Fall (I-3)

Topics in Film Studies: Film topics vary from year to year. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: FS 151 or 152.


Spring (II-3)

Topics in Film Studies: Film topics vary from year to year. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: FS 151 or 152

FWS 121 FRESHMAN WRITING SEMINAR Fall (I-3) Freshman Writing Seminar: FWS 121 introduces entering Eastman students to college-level inquiry by focusing on critical thinking and academic writing. Students will develop, test, and refine their analytical and argumentative skills by means of discussion, debate, response papers, and three essays of 5-7 pages. No matter which section you take, this course will help you learn to frame compelling questions, integrate various kinds of sources, and set forth complex ideas in clear, concise, and lively prose. Each fall several sections are offered on different literary, historical, political scientific, and art historical topics. Please check the descriptions for individual course sections in fall course catalog.